Archival Documentation Page

The following is a chronological catalog of archival documentation pertaining to the early history of Fitch's knowability paradox.  The items were identified for the first time by myself or those aiding my research.  My discussion of their content appears in "Knowability Noir: 1945-1963", which is forthcoming in New Essays on the Knowability Paradox.


  • Church, Alonzo. "First Anonymous Referee Report on Fitch's 'A Definition of Value' ".  January or February 1945. Handwritten by Alonzo Church to Ernest Nagel, coeditor of JSL.  Contains the first proof of the modal epistemic result today known as the knowability paradox.  (ENP: Box 1)                                                       

An edition of this and the second referee report (listed below) is being prepared by Julien Murzi and myself for publication in New Essays on the Knowability Paradox.  Here's an appendix of the logical resources therein.

  • Nagel, Ernest.  "Letter to Church: March 6, 1945".  Explains that Fitch has returned the manu and replied to the first report. (ACP: Box 20)

  • Church, A. "Second Anonymous Referee Report on Fitch's 'A Definition of Value' ".   Late March or early April 1945.  Includes a more formal characterization of the knowability result in Lewis and Langford's proof theory.  Includes replies to Fitch's discussion of the first report.  (ENP: Box 1)

  • Nagel, E. "Letter to Church: April 13, 1945".   Notes that Fitch has withdrawn his paper owing to a defect in his definition of value.  (ACP: Box 25)

  • Fitch's handwritten notes of the central proof.  Probably from the early sixties when Fitch was writing his 1961 Retiring Presidential Address to the Association for Symbolic Logic.  (FFP: Box 14)
  • Fitch. Other related handwritten notes from a different notebook. (FFP: Box 28) 
  • Fitch, F. "A Logical Anlaysis of Some Value Concepts".  This is Fitch's draft of his December 23, 1961 Presidential Address to the ASL.  (FFP: Box 28). 
  • Fitch, F. "Letter to Lazerowitz: August 3, 1962".  Cover letter accompanying Fitch's submission of "A Logical Analysis of Some Value Concepts" to JSL. (FFP: Box 4)
  • Fitch, F. "A Logical Analysis of Some Value Concepts". Penultimate draft. (FFP: Box 28). 
  • Lazerowitz, A.  "Postcard to Fitch:  January 18, 1963".  Regarding remaining typographical edits to be made prior to the printing of "A Logical Analysis of Some Value Concepts" in JSL. (FFP: Box 4) 

(FFP)  Frederic B. Fitch Papers:  Manuscripts and Archives.  Yale University Library.

(ACP) Alonzo Church Papers: Department of Rare Books and Special Collections.  Princeton University Library.

(ENP) Ernest Nagel Papers:  Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Columbia University. 


(from Referee Report 1)